Prepare to help me hobbit!

Today is Sunday, and my birthday is Saturday. I have already read two books (one paper, one ebook) that were early birthday presents, because I am spoiled and because apparently the concept of delayed gratification is not a strong suit at the moment. Anyway, in making a dinner reservation for this evening, I got asked, is it anybody’s birthday? and usually I lie and tell them no, because I don’t want to make the waitstaff feel obliged to sing as well as their real jobs, and I worry that they will give me a nasty piece of white cake instead of letting me decide whether I want good dessert or no dessert. But this time I chirped, “Yes, it’s mine!” Because this year, honestly, with all the horrible and disappointing news the world has brought us in the last week, I kind of feel the need for all the birthday assistance I can get.

This post is a list of things you can think about getting for yourself–or just drooling over if you don’t have the spare cash–as presents for yourself for my birthday. Sadly, I can’t get them for all of you. I am not that much of a wealthy hobbit, to be able to buy all of you these lovely things as presents for my birthday. But I will at least show you the shinies that I would get you, if I could have a proper hobbit party and give you all the proper hobbit presents that I would like to give you. (Please note that this is the opposite of the usual wishlist: I am not asking you to get this stuff for ME but for YOURSELVES. Not that I wouldn’t like it also, but some of it–like the Kickstarter stuff–I already have, and mostly: the point is you, not me.)

1. Nerd coloring books. Specifically, Dinosaurs With Jobs. Mostly I would get this for my old college friend Scott, but the rest of you might want it too.

2. Chad Jerzak Raku ceramics. Saw these at the St. Kate Art Festival. Very cool.

3. Fresh Mud Pottery. Also at the St. Kate Art Festival. So many things in the gallery, be sure you look at the slide show.

4. Elise’s Current Shinies. Ooh. Shiny. So many shinies, so few body parts to hang them from.

5. Tim always has lovely things. Here are two of his newer ones (that first link was from the Pop Art Minneapolis series, the second the newest Reader photo).

6. Richard Shindell and Lucy Kaplansky are doing a Kickstarter. For those of us who have been yearning for another Cry Cry Cry album, even two-thirds as good will almost certainly be good enough. (Did you miss out on Cry Cry Cry? Here they are singing Northern Cross. The third member is Dar Williams. Oh, fine, here’s another: By Way of Sorrow.)

7. Julie Dillon, who has done the gorgeous art for my stories, is also doing a Kickstarter. Many ways to support her art; go look.

Any other loveliness you want to share with each other? There’s a whole week before it’s my birthday, and the comments section lies before you.

Good things, late May

1. Some of you have already heard this on other social media, but this week I sold a short story, “The New Girl,” to Apex Magazine. Hurrah! Apex will be publishing another short story in the same universe (but not with any recognizably similar elements) next week, so stay tuned.

2. Marie Brennan is doing a Kickstarter for a novel. Chains and Memory will be the sequel to her previous novel, Lies and Prophecy, and you can get them both. Notice how I am saying “will be” and “can get”? That’s because the Kickstarter has already funded. But there are stretch goals, so go give it a look. (Even when there aren’t stretch goals, usually the funding goal for a Kickstarter is not the point at which the project creator starts swimming, Scrooge McDuck style, in vats of money and can make all the cool things in the world happen without anxiety, related to their project. Backers can always back out, expenses always exist. If you think a Kickstarter looks like a good idea from a trustworthy source, overfunding a bit it is nearly always a good idea.)

3. Hanne Blank is doing a new subscription project called 52 Weeks To Your Best Body Ever. Unlike most projects of this type, it will not be strictly gendered, focused on “bikini bodies,” or anything weird and icky like that. This is a “feel better in your skin” sort of project. (It’s Hanne, so there may also be a few “make your skin feel better” things, I don’t know.) I’ve enjoyed Hanne’s previous subscription project, which was recipe focused, and I think she’s got a lot to say here that will be of value to a wide variety of people.

Good news you might have gotten elsewhere

1. I sold a story, “A House of Gold and Steel,” to Beneath Ceaseless Skies. It’s not actually very much like “Minnie the Moocher,” although that’s where the title comes from. When I announced this on shorter social media, I linked to Cab Calloway singing in Blues Brothers, which is classic, but I also always do get Stephen Fry in my head saying, “Yes, His Majesty King Gustav does seem to have been extraordinarily generous with the young lady, sir.” But really, His Majesty King Gustav is Sir Not Appearing In This Story.

2. Tim’s Kickstarter funded! If you’re interested, there’s still time to back it and get yourself a lovely photo book, or the related cards, prints, etc. This is a thing that will definitely happen now–he’s completed all the photos, the Kickstarting is for the cost of printing etc.–and as Kev said in another social medium, it is a lovely bandwagon to jump on. Mostly I am pleased that it funded before the last minute. You may not have known this about me, but I am not the least anxious person ever, and knowing that this very cool project will actually exist in the world has been a very happy relief for me.

3. It’s raining. I like rain. I like rain almost as well as snow, and everybody else is a great deal less grumpy than if it was snowing today, so hurrah rain.

Special Reader/Carter Hall crossover promotional

Today is Monday, and Tim’s Kickstarter is over 75% funded. The funding is the point at which it can happen, though; going over “funded” is still quite a good idea and gives more room for him to develop awesome projects in future.

Saturday is my mother’s sixtieth birthday. Don’t you think my mother should have nice things? I do. Like beautiful photo books. And kooky fantasy stories. She likes things like that!

That’s why for this week, as a special promotional for my mom’s birthday, if you back the Reader: War for the Oaks Kickstarter at the photo book level or higher (that’s $30 or higher), you can let me know and pick your own brand new Carter Hall story. Choose a title (I’ve never written “Carter Hall Returns to the Point” or “Carter Hall’s One Timer” or “Carter Hall and the Broken Blade” or…well, that’s the point, whatever you like), or choose a mythic or folktale element I should incorporate in a new Carter Hall story. I’ll send it to you when it’s finished.

There is no requirement that you have to be listed as a friend of my lj or anything else to participate in this promotional. My email is publicly available: it’s a gmail account at marissalingen.

The Reader: War for the Oaks: Kickstarter!

The Kickstarter is up for The Reader: War for the Oaks, and Tim has done a beautiful job. You can see some of how gorgeous the photos are on the page for it, but they’re even better in person. There’ll also be essays in appreciation of War for the Oaks in the photo book (possibly one from me–we’ll see what he thinks!). And if you’re so moved, there are gorgeous prints and photo cards for extras. Some of you have gotten examples of Tim’s photo cards in the mail from me–way better than Hallmark, frankly, suitable for pretty much any occasion, festive, congratulatory, consoling, pick your mood yourself.

This has been a lovely project to support, and I would really like for him to be able to do more beautiful nerdy things in this vein. The Kickstarter is starting strong, but it still needs support. Please go look at the page and think about backing it. Thanks so much.

Asking for a friend: the not-amused edition

I have a friend who has developed an academic interest in what she terms neo-Victorian kids’ lit (/MG) and YA. I have asked, and she does not draw a firm line between that and steampunk. Recommendations, anti-recommendations, interesting works to discuss: go.

I’ll start: Chris Moriarty’s The Inquisitor’s Apprentice fills my heart with joy, and I only wish she would write another, or I only wish they would publish another, or something. (That is, however, Victorian era but US setting. Not sure if it matters. Friend can show up and say so if it does.)